Housing recovery funds available
Military DoD civilians who face financial losses due to the current housing downturn can find relief in the ARRA influx of funds to the Housing Assistance Program (HAP).
Active members, former members, and survivors of those who have died on deployment of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, as well as DoD civilians, who have sold a primary residence for a loss, or are considering selling their home, may qualify for funds.
The Recovery Act appropriated $555 million in funds to the HAP, which DoD will use to temporarily expand this program in order to partially reimburse eligible members. applications.
To speak with a HAP representative, call (916) 557-6850 or 1-800-811-5532.
April is Month of the Military Child
DOD salutes military children by Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 1, 2014 – The Defense Department believes military children serve their country alongside their service member parents, DOD’s director of the office of family policy/children and youth said.
When military children serve, they do so by making sacrifices when parents are deployed, through frequent moves, starting new schools and making new friends on a continuing basis, Barbara Thompson said in a recent interview with The Pentagon Channel for the Month of the Military Child that’s being celebrated in April.
“We feel it’s important for the nation to know that military children also serve their country,” Thompson said.
To honor military children for their sacrifices and service, DOD and the services have planned activities this month that range from installation-based fairs, parades, and literacy and art events, she said.
Military Kids Day, April 15, marks the third-annual “Purple Up!” day when adults wear purple to show support of children from all the services, Thompson said.
DOD has numerous year-round programs and awareness efforts to honor military children, and Thompson elaborated on some of those initiatives.
To help children build their resilience, DOD has coordinated programs with Sesame Street to help with ongoing change in military children’s lives, Thompson noted.
“Sesame [Street] has been an outstanding contributor to the well-being of military children,” she said, naming a series of DVDs that cover such topics for military children as divorce, grief, separation and deployment, resilience skills, and visible or invisible injuries.
Sesame Street also recently launched two new smartphone applications.
“One [app] covers relocation, and another is to help children learn self-regulation skills so they become more resilient,” Thompson said. “And everything is free.”
Thompson emphasized that April also is Child Abuse Prevention Month and said awareness in this arena is important to DOD.
“Child Abuse Prevention Month is particularly important because it’s a social responsibility for all of us to make sure children are safe and their well-being is protected,” she said. “Everybody has a responsibility.”
Giving parents the tools to make them strong supporters of their children and to keep them safe from predators and from violence within the family is crucial, she added.
“Parenting is tough, regardless of the situation and the age of the child. They each bring their nuances to the table, whether it’s children at [age] 2 who say ‘no,’ or a teenager who’s sometimes a little defiant,” she said.
DOD offers parenting skill resources, Thompson noted, such as the newly launched Parenting Course. The course, she explained, examines parenting from the context of the military lifestyle, which revolves around deployments and parental separations from their children at different stages of their development.
And an installation-based initiative, the new Parent Support Program, involves home visitation for new parents of children up to age 3, “to help parents reach their full potential working with and being responsible for their children,” Thompson said. The Marine Corps’ program supports parents with children up to age 5, she added.
“The New Parent Support Program is a part of the Family Advocacy Program, which has a prevention piece that offers courses and opportunities for support groups. We want to make sure we address the stressors in families’ lives before they escalate,” Thompson said.
“Sometimes [certain] things really push our buttons,” she added. “So we need to have the tools, to know how to cope with those kinds of stressors and how we react to them.”
Naval Base Coronado Executive Officer relieved 4/18/2014
From Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The executive officer of Naval Base Coronado in San Diego was relieved of his duties April 18 by Commander, Navy Installations Command.
Vice Adm. William French, commander of Navy Installations Command relieved Capt. Gregory McWherter. The decision was based on initial findings of an ongoing investigation into recent allegations of misconduct and an inappropriate command climate at the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.
The allegations refer specifically to the period when McWherter served as Blue Angels commanding officer, from November 2008 to November 2010 and again from May 2011 to November 2012.
McWherter assumed his duties as Naval Base Coronado executive officer in November 2013. He has been temporarily reassigned to Naval Air Forces in San Diego.
WASHINGTON (April 18, 2014) Cryptologic Technician 1st Class Patricia H. Madigan receives a Navy-Marine Corps commendation medal from Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark E. Ferguson III after winning the 2013 Navy Shore Sailor of the Year (SOY) competition at the Pentagon. The Navy Shore SOY program was established in 1972 to recognize Sailors who represent the best of the Navy by demonstrating both professional and personal dedication above and beyond their peers. This year's competition was among 5 first class petty officers representing shore commands across the entire fleet. U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Thomas L. Rosprim
2013 Shore SOY announced 4/18/2014
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) announced the winner of the CNO Shore Activities Sailor of the Year (SOY) during a ceremony at the Pentagon, April 19.
Adm. Mark Ferguson announced Cryptologic Technician Collections 1st Class Patricia Madigan of Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii, as this year's winner.
Madigan received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal at the ceremony and will be meritoriously advanced to chief petty officer (CPO) later this year.
Joining Madigan as finalists were Aviation Ordnanceman Anthony Artino, commander, Task Force 67, Sigonella, Sicily; Builder 1st Class Deanna Dimeo, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five, Port Hueneme, Calif; Cryptologic Technician Collections James Lee, Jr., Center for Information Dominance Detachment, San Diego; and Master-at-Arms 1st Class Clinton Peterson, Commander Fleet Activities, Sasebo, Japan.
Each of the candidates received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal from the VCNO during the ceremony.
"These Sailors exemplify our Navy core values," said Ferguson. "When we look into the faces of these nominees, we see a reflection of excellence."
Shortly after graduating from high school, Madigan reported to Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes for Basic Training. Upon completion, she reported to NTTC Corry Station for CTR "A" school. Her first tour of duty was NSGA Menwith Hill, in Harrogate England. Follow-on tours included NSGA Kunia, USS Normandy (CG 60), USS Porter (DDG 78), and Center for Information Dominance Learning Site San Diego.
Madigan said dedication and perspective are what has defined her career up to this point.
"Not every day is the best day, but every day is an incredible opportunity to serve," said Madigan. "It is a tremendous honor to represent my command. This is a great but also humbling experience. No one gets here alone."
"Congratulations to our nominees," said Ferguson. "We are a better Navy because you chose to serve."
Adm. Elmo Zumwalt initiated the Sailor of the Year program in 1972, to recognize the outstanding Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors. The following year, the Shore Sailor of the Year program was introduced.
Each year, every Navy ship, station and command around the world chooses its Sailor of the Year based on leadership, professionalism dedication, and superior performance. These selectees compete against recipients from other commands competing at higher and higher echelons until the Navy's four finest are chosen and only one selected as the CNO Shore Activities SOY.
USS Anchorage achieves training goals, returns home 4/18/2014
by MC2 Christopher Lindahl
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) arrived at her homeport of San Diego, April 18, after disembarking Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF), ASEAN, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF).
Anchorage arrived after a vigorous 31 day underway involving a wide assortment of ongoing at-sea training evolutions and hosting the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, and other defense ministers from the Association of Southeastern Asian Nations (ASEAN), during part of the ASEAN defense forum.
"We showed the capabilities of the Navy-Marine Corps team in a physical manner," said Lt. Col. Mark T. Donar, commanding officer, SPMAGTF-ASEAN. "We were able to showcase our equipment and the Navy's ability to bring our equipment to the forefront."
Anchorage conducted training in nearly every aspect of Navy readiness including flight deck operations, well deck operations, medical response training, combat systems training, and engineering casualty training. Anchorage also hosted a variety of Sailors from her sister ship, USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) to gain qualifications and train in an at-sea environment.
Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Nicholas Treser, assigned to Green Bay and embarked on Anchorage, led a team of six Sailors as they worked on gaining such qualifications as: underway lookout, helmsman, lee-helmsman, line handler, well deck petty officer-in-charge, and more.
"It was a great training opportunity," said Treser. "It allows Green Bay to have more flexibility with their watch standing and enhanced the overall qualification level of their deck department."
Essex Sailors got an opportunity to train on the flight deck, with four receiving landing signalman, enlisted qualifications and three receiving tractor driver qualifications.
The air department was also able to certify approximately 40 pilots and crew from the Marine Corps and Army with their deck landing qualifications, landing and launching Army CH-47 Chinooks, Marine MV-22 Ospreys, CH-53 Super Stallions, AH-1W Super Cobras, and UH-1Y Iroquois helicopters.
"The fact that Marines and Sailors from other ships can combine with our own flight deck crew and crash and salvage teams to work seamlessly makes the whole flight deck training process something to be proud of," said Yeoman 3rd Class Pedro Samame, assigned to Anchorage's crash and salvage team. "We all worked together and I feel like it was a total success."
USS Anchorage (LPD 23) is the seventh San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. She was built at the Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding site in Avondale, La. She was delivered to the U.S. Navy on Set. 17, 2012 and was commissioned in her namesake city of Anchorage, Alaska on May 4, 2013. She is homeported in San Diego.
USS Cowpens, USS Spruance return from deployment 4/17/2014
From Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) and guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) returned to Naval Base San Diego April 17 following completion of separate deployments to the Western Pacific Ocean.
Last November, Cowpens and embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 played a critical role in Operation Damayan, a joint service humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery mission, following Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Republic of the Philippines.
"I am very proud of the accomplishments of the crew. They have truly continued the fine legacy of Cowpens," said Capt. Gregory Gombert, Cowpens' commanding officer. "As we return home, we all look forward to spending time with loved ones."
Spruance completed its maiden deployment to the Western Pacific by supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The ship operated in the South and East China Seas, as well as the Yellow Sea, while conducting 11 port visits to seven countries. These theater security cooperation events contributed to the strengthening of relationships in the region.
Additionally, Sailors from Spruance rescued a Filipino mariner Jan. 18, who had fallen overboard from his vessel while transiting in the Singapore Strait.
"By every possible metric the women and men on board performed their duties exceptionally well," said Cmdr. Dan Cobian, Spruance's commanding officer. "I witnessed first-hand the incredible talent, flexibility and selfless dedication of the Spruance crew. I could not be prouder of each and every one of them."
3rd Fleet and TTGP host RIMPAC Staff Exercise 4/16/2014
by MC3 Molly A. Evans, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet (C3F) and Tactical Training Group Pacific (TTGP) held a Staff Exercise (STAFFEX) for senior leadership staffs at Naval Base Point Loma April 14-16 in preparation for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014.
The exercise provided an opportunity to work through challenging scenarios in a synthetic, computer-based environment prior to live training to be conducted during RIMPAC.
"We have multiple modules simulating a command room," said TTGP RIMPAC STAFFEX Coordinator, Cmdr. Sean Rando. "We conduct simulated exercises regularly, but none to this scale, and there are language barriers and meanings of certain terms that we don't realize can be an issue until we execute an exercise. So, in order to solve some of these issues, we decided to conduct a synthetic war game to mirror parts of RIMPAC in a controlled environment."
Senior staffs from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States participated in the training.
"We all have one common goal: to make this the best RIMPAC ever," said Combined Force Maritime Component Commander, Royal Canadian Navy Commodore Gilles Couturier. "This is all about relationships and establishing links as a coalition force. This is the best option we have to exercise the plan without actually putting ships at sea. Every nation is budget conscious, so it is our job as leaders to make the best of it."
Deputy Commander, Combined Task Force, Royal Australian Navy Rear Adm. Simon Cullen expressed his feelings on how training prior to a major exercise builds team cohesion.
"What this does is cement relationships and allows us to practice tactics, techniques and procedures in a simulated environment," he said. "When we get to the real operational area we don't want to make the same mistakes, so we start at a higher level of training and keep building."
RIMPAC is the world's largest maritime exercise, which occurs biennially in and around the Hawaiian islands. The exercise, which is next scheduled to occur in the summer of 2014, is hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet and led by the commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet.
"It's a complex exercise, but it is very important that we all learn to work together to promote security and stability in the Pacific, so these exercises are ideal venues to allow us to work together with other countries that you would not otherwise meet," added Cullen.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.
Keel laid for future USS Gabrielle Giffords 4/16/2014
From Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships
MOBILE, Ala. (NNS) -- The Navy and Austal USA held a keel-laying ceremony for the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), the Navy's 10th littoral combat ship (LCS), in Mobile, Ala., April 16.
The keel-laying ceremony recognizes the first joining together of a ship's components. While modern shipbuilding processes allow fabrication of individual modules to begin months earlier, the laying of the keel represents the formal beginning of a ship.
The ship's sponsor, Roxanna Green, was unable to attend the ceremony. The ship's namesake, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, authenticated the keel by having her initials welded into a sheet of the ship's hull.
"It is a special day for all of us on the Gulf Coast to have the ship's namesake, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, here with us for the keel laying ceremony of LCS 10, the future USS Gabrielle Giffords," said Capt. Joseph Tuite, Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SUPSHIP) Gulf Coast.
LCS is a new class of U.S. Navy warship, capable of open-ocean operation, but optimized for littoral, or coastal, missions. LCS 10 is one of five Independence-variant LCS currently under construction at Austal USA. The ship is expected to deliver to the fleet in 2017.
The future USS Gabrielle Giffords will be approximately 420 feet in length, have a waterline beam of about 103 feet, displace approximately 3,000 tons, and make speed in excess of 40 knots. The construction will be led by Austal Shipbuilding in Mobile, Ala. This is the 16th ship to be named for a woman and the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850.
PCU North Dakota commissioning postponed 4/16/2014
From Team Submarine Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) commissioning will be postponed, the Navy announced, April 16.
This decision is based on the need for additional design and certification work required on the submarine's redesigned bow and material issues with vendor-assembled and delivered components. As the Navy works with all vested parties to certify the quality and safety of the submarine and toward taking delivery of the boat, it will determine a new commissioning date.
The Navy is committed to ensuring the safety of its crews and ships. High quality standards for submarine components are an important part of the overall effort to ensure safety.
The lessons learned from North Dakota are already being applied to all Block III submarines.
Team Submarine oversees the submarine force's research, development, acquisition, maintenance and life cycle support.